With Attacks on Roe, New Law Grows

In 2016, the Supreme Court reaffirmed and strengthened Roe and Casey’s constitutional protections for decisions about abortion. This Term, a Supreme Court (with Justices the Republican Party breached norms to appoint) has signaled its intention to dismantle that framework. After oral argument in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, all observers expect the Court to uphold Mississippi’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks. It is not clear what constitutional limits, if any, the Court will preserve in this area, and how Dobbs will threaten other protected liberties. Polling shows strong support for preserving Roe (62%/31%; 67%/27%)—and dramatically declining confidence in the Supreme Court. With changes on the Court, there is a frenzy of debate, institution building, and lawmaking, as the nation prepares to sort itself into regions where abortion (and more) is banned and others where states are developing a twenty-first century law of reproductive justice. Without Roe as a focus, advocates are staking out new terrain in the name of family and community, health, liberty, equality, and life.